End of Year Reflection: Celebrating our 2020 Highlights

End of Year Reflection: Celebrating our 2020 Highlights

2020 has been a rough year for many.
At Mother Tongues, we had to pull together as a team and get creative on how we could continue our support from afar. 
It forced us to broaden our scope and look at new ways to communicate and connect with our community.

But most importantly, it taught us to appreciate and celebrate the wins, big and small!

 And so, with that in mind, we’d love you to hop aboard the Mother Tongues memory train with us as we take a journey back through some of our key highlights from the year! 

International Mother Language Day Celebrations

In February we were delighted to be able to celebrate International Mother Language Day in our new home in Rua Red, and we were in great company! More than 100 children participated in Language Explorers workshops that we delivered in collaboration with Rua Red, Justine Nantale and Michael Chanda.

Mother Tongues Festival 2020

This year’s festival was a HUGE success!

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festival 2020

Over the 3 day festival, we hosted over 40 events across 20 different languages with artists, performers and professionals from all across the globe including India, Germany, Russia, Poland, Italy, Turkey, Guadalupe, Spain, France, Taiwan, Japan just to name a few!
We laughed, we sang, we danced, we created and most importantly, we had bundles of fun!
Each and every event played a part in making the festival a success.
Here is a recap of a few of our favourite moments:

And that’s not all! This year we were also delighted to find out that our festival was again successful in securing Arts Council funding for 2021, allowing us to grow and further develop. 

We are bubbling with excitement for 2021.  Keep an eye on www.mothertonguesfestival.com
Stay tuned for more news on our next festival and in the meantime, follow our festival account on social:

Mother Tongues Families and We Mothers

After talking to many parents we decided that we needed a hub for families to meet others, share experiences and spend time with their baby or toddler through interesting and educational activities.
With Charlotte Petit, Cécile Vesin and Martha Lopez we created our first Mother Tongues Families group. Through a range of interactive activities, we gave these parents the tools they needed to support their child’s linguistic development and empower them to support and promote language and communication both inside and outside of the home.

Due to the pandemic, this series of events had to stop… but we never say no to challenges! In October we launched We Mothers, a creative online Networking Workshop for New Mothers, promoting a cultural exchange of Motherhood in a safe and supportive space.
This creative exchange stimulated a stronger connection and understanding of each others’ cultures and heritage. Find out more.

Language Learning from Home

Still buzzing from the excitement of our festival, our team had no idea of what was about to come! In early March, like so many other organisations and individuals, we were stopped in our tracks by COVID.

Our team quickly got together (safely online) to plan how we could continue to provide support online to families who now found themselves at home, trying to keep up with their languages while also juggling work and home-schooling! 

In collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, we produced some key resources, including: 

A video for families on home learning

A video for teachers on communicating with families who are new to English

A series of downloadable lists with key phrases in various languages for schools, as part of our Language Explorers programme.

We also worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Airbnb, Barnardos, Glór na nGael and Údarás na Gaeltachta, to offer a series of talks to parents to promote the development of Irish and other home languages. 

Cruinniu na nÓg

We were delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Cruinniú na nÓg in South Dublin this summer.
This project started during this year’s Mother Tongues Festival where we invited photographer Enzo Francesco Testa to create an exhibition by taking portraits of people visiting the Tallaght Library and Rua Red. These portraits were displayed alongside their names, which were transcribed using the International Phonetic Alphabet. 

This exhibition was later transformed into the short documentary “What’s your name” to showcase the beauty of names through the voices of young children.
“What’s your name?”  launched on 13th June and was first broadcasted on Cruinniú TV South Dublin: Create, Make, Participate.

Mother Tongues - The Podcast


2020, saw our team enter the world of Podcasting!
Together with families around the world, we collaborated with RTÉ to produce a series of podcasts that celebrate the languages children use in their homes.

Through fun games, stories, recipes and songs, every child can learn something new and hopefully become interested in learning a new language!

You can listen anytime on RTE Radioplayer, for free!

Mother Tongues Webinars

In addition to our podcast, we increased our online webinar events, allowing us to reach and support hundreds of parents across Ireland, interested in keeping their mother tongue alive at home. 
These are our upcoming webinars for members:

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Heritage language classes

Our Heritage Language Classes have played a huge part in helping us keep the magic of multilingualism alive during the pandemic.
Early in the year, we opened up the Mother Tongues online school, where over 50 children had the opportunity to learn more about their language and culture through interactive digital classes and they will continue in the new year. 

We continued our support to heritage language teachers in Ireland throughout the pandemic with monthly teach-meet style meetings where we discussed online teaching and shared tips and best practices. 

We also organised an online Conference in collaboration with Bilingual Association Móðurmál where we welcomed attendees from many different countries, including Iceland, Canada and Australia! Find out more.

See Through Café

While we certainly missed our in-person meet-ups, our ever-popular initiative the See Through Café moved online this year to allow us to continue to engage with artists during such a difficult time. 

While the location may have changed, it continues to be a free and open space where you can meet new people who have an interest in art, diversity, community and who love to learn something new about places, people and creativity.

We are hopeful to be back at our favourite spot Rua Red at some stage next year. 

Social Inclusion Festival

In November, we participated in the South Dublin County Council’s Social Inclusion Festival with three nights of Yoruba bedtime stories and songs with singer and songwriter Zeenie Summers, one of our Resident Artists.

Arabic Language Day


At Mother Tongues, we believe all languages should be celebrated which is why we are delighted to support the World Arabic Language Day online event this month!
A celebration showcasing the richness of the Arabic language and culture through art, poetry and music, Arabesque Events is moving with the times and celebrating WALD 2020 online this year! “Aratok” a smart new English/Arabic video-conferencing/concert-streaming platform will be live-streaming it and Rua Red has kindly offered their fab theatre for an amazing 2-hour variety show. Find out more.

New Board Members

We ended the year with an exciting high as we welcomed our brand new board members. 
This wonderful group is composed of teachers, creatives, entrepreneurs, artists and experts in their field, all with the passion to help us promote multilingualism across Ireland. 
Please join us in a big Welcome | Fáilte | Benvenuti | Kαλώς ήρθατε | Bienvenue | Bienvenidos | Welkom | أهلاً و سهلاً | Ongi etorri | 歡迎光臨 | Witajcie | Добро пожаловать | Karibuni | வாங்க | Bula to:

  • David McHale
  • Shauna McDaniel 
  • Salvo Cacciato
  • Tarisai Chidawanyika
  • Phaedra Vlahos
  • Agnieszka Pedrak
  • Wuraola Majekodunmi
  • Síne Nic an Ailí
    We are delighted to have you all on board (excuse the pun!)
board ,e,bers

A big BIG Thank You

We couldn’t end this year without giving a HUGE thank you to everyone who made these events possible and who has supported us in keeping the spirit of Mother Tongues alive online this year… we couldn’t have done it without you and we are oh so grateful! 

And guess what, the best is yet to come…
Here’s to 2021!

So, What’s Next?!

To keep up to date on all Mother Tongues events & news and to be the first to hear about our 2021 events, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media!

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